Film: Overnighters, The (2014)

April 24, 2014 | By


Overnighters2014_poster_bFilm: Excellent

Transfer:  n/a  Extras: n/a

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Genre:  Documentary / Hot Docs 2014

Synopsis: Semi-tragic chronicle of the broken lives of workers and a local priest in the natural gas boom town of Williston, North Dakota.

Special Features:  n/a




Jesse Moss’ fly-on-the-wall documentary may have initially begun as a human interest piece about a small Lutheran church in Williston, North Dakota, where migrant workers find shelter and support during their search for work in the booming natural gas industry, but the checkered pasts of a few overnighters ultimately cause the community’s seething discomforture with Pastor Jay Reinke’s ‘open arms’ policy to reveal buried secrets, further displacing the most fragile workers, and affecting Reinke’s own private life.

Moss managed to revisit Reinke over several months, capturing the changes in a pastor as well as some of the workers who left their families and homes in far off states for a good wage in the controversial fracking industry (the fracturing of underground shale deposits for natural gas), and it’s heartbreaking to see good deeds unravel through no singularly malicious act. The social consequences from greed, fear, and human desperation can apply to any town affected by an economic boom, making Moss’ beautifully filmed documentary a cautionary tale where no resolution is ever possible.

Also related: the 2014 New York Times OpDocs film Running on Fumes in North Dakota by Lewis Wilcox, Eliot Popko, James Christenson and Jonah Sargent.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
IMDB  —  Hot Docs 2014 Listing
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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